Thanksgiving in Mountain Lakes

November 21, 2012

Monday and Tuesday were a blur this week. So much to do before travel, the lists and the laundry, the checking of fluids and tires, (we were driving,) the overwatering of plants and the list of instructions for the girl next door who kindly offered to fish sit. The list explains,  in a rather lengthy paragraph, that if the fish gets too much food it will die. And that the fish should only eat fish food. We’ve lost a lot of pets this year so I went with the you can’t be too careful approach. Along those lines, maybe I should have actually explained that though her job title is “fish sitting” she should not, under any circumstances, sit on the fish. Here’s hoping.

Right before I left, there was the lingering conversations on the sofa with Sophia the Most Magnificent of Puppies which I won’t repeat here. It would embarrass me and bore you, but in a nutshell I told her we’d be home soon.

By the time I actually got in the car, I was exhausted. I was armed with a rather large coffee, serious sunglasses, two kids who swore not to fight until we’d gone at least 150 miles, a smartphone perched in the passenger seat, mapquest opened, our destination entered, our route laid out. There were snacks, bottles of water, kleenex, a car charger, 14 magazines, one large book of knock knock jokes… Oh my just recounting the preparations for our Thanksgiving road trip is making me frazzled.

And I was. During the first twenty minutes on the road I snarled at the kids twice “How is it you are twelve and you still don’t know how to wear a seat belt”, spent twenty minutes flipping thru radio stations, and fifteen minutes listening to Taylor Swift tell me we are never, ever getting back together. I hung up on my husband when he called me I might run into traffic in Conneticut, I cut off a car full of New Hampshire nuns who were trying to steal my lane.

And then, a thought occurred to me. Out of nowhere. I was on my way to Mountain Lakes NJ to spend Thanksgiving with one of my favorite families in the whole world, the Harringtons. I was on VACATION. I could let the nuns cut me off, I could handle Miss Swift’s cruel rejection, the kids could squabble as long as their battles weren’t going to lead to hospitalization or criminal charges… We are going away for the holiday to see a family that knows my family, warts, and all, and really really wants so see us. They are making up pullout beds, and buying extra cereal, and scrubbing down the guest room bathroom just for us!!!

And in that moment of clarity, I rolled down my window, I leaned out and yelled  “Happy Thanksgiving.” 

Nobody heard me, it was about thirty degrees and everybody had their windows closed.

My kids asked me what was in my coffee.

The rest of the trip was long, very long. We sat in traffic, we played punch buggies, and “do we really have to listen to this song again” and “it’s my turn to sit there” for about six hours.

When we got to Amy’s house, they were waiting for us. They took us for pizza, New Jersey pizza. I am the happiest houseguest in the whole world. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. And if you are in the middle of getting bogged down by the small stuff, and the not so small stuff…

Try not to.

PS Sophie, I promise, I will be home soon.

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